Archive for the ‘Music’ Category
Thanks to Irishviews.com for the barley image.
Is there any end to the toxic effects of British imperialism and capitalist exploitation? One look at the Gulf of Mexico disaster provides the answer. Britain’s cruelty and barbarism toward its “subjects” is horrifying. The Irish have suffered from British oppression for centuries. The Irish have resisted with incredible courage and persistence — and with beautiful lyrics and songs about their struggle for dignity and freedom.
The Wind That Shakes the Barley” is one such ballad, by poet Robert Dwyer Joyce.. It’s a traditional Irish ballad in format but is based on true events that transpired during the 1798 Irish Rebellion against British rule. I won’t go into the entire narrative of the uprising but one event stands out: The 29th of May massacre by Britain — which should never be forgotten — or forgiven.The British Army captured, shot and killed 300-5oo Irish prisoners of war at Gibbet Rath, in the Curragh grasslands of County Kildare. Executed. Assassinated. So much for British “nobility” This massacre exemplifies the vicious savagery that’s characterized British imperialism for centuries. By the way, these were rebels about to surrender…. — from Wikipedia
According to YouTube commenter anthonyjanetireph: “The references to barley in the song derive from the fact that the rebels often carried barley oats in their pockets as provisions for when on the march. This gave rise to the post-rebellion phenomenon of barley growing and marking the “croppy-holes,” mass unmarked graves which slain rebels were thrown into, symbolising the regenerative nature of Irish resistance to British rule.” Three comments.
1) Irish rebels lived on subsistence farming and were near starvation. Imagine trying to survive as by chewing raw barley grains or functioning as a soldier with such meager nourishment. The British used starvation to control the Irish population.
2) The death of each Irish patriot ensured a continuance of the barley harvest (their agrarian way of life) and ensured future generation of Irish resistance.
3) The shaking of the barley is a visual reminder of the desire to “live free or die” — free from the ongoing British occupation of Ireland.
I am reminded of the resolution of Seven Samurais. The peasants of the town go back to work in the rice fields, singing. For now, the strife has ended. But at some point, invaders may return to terrorize, kill and steal. It may once more be necessary to summon the help of itinerant samurais to defend the town….
With those concepts in mind, here is a beautiful version of the ballad by Dead Can Dance vocalist Lisa Gerrard:
- I sat within a valley green
- I sat me with my true love
- My sad heart strove to choose between
- The old love and the new love
- The old for her, the new that made
- Me think on Ireland dearly
- While soft the wind blew down the glade
- And shook the golden barley
- Twas hard the woeful words to frame
- To break the ties that bound us
- But harder still to bear the shame
- Of foreign chains around us
- And so I said, “The mountain glen
- I’ll seek at morning early
- And join the bold United Men
- While soft winds shake the barley”
- While sad I kissed away her tears
- My fond arms ’round her flinging
- The foeman’s shot burst on our ears
- From out the wildwood ringing
- A bullet pierced my true love’s side
- In life’s young spring so early
- And on my breast in blood she died
- While soft winds shook the barley
- I bore her to some mountain stream
- And many’s the summer blossom
- I placed with branches soft and green
- About her gore-stained bosom
- I wept and kissed her clay-cold corpse
- Then rushed o’er vale and valley
- My vengeance on the foe to wreak
- While soft winds shook the barley
- But blood for blood without remorse
- I’ve taken at Oulart Hollow
- And laid my true love’s clay-cold corpse
- Where I full soon may follow
- As ’round her grave I wander drear
- Noon, night and morning early
- With breaking heart when e’er I hear
- The wind that shakes the barley
Fast forward to 1921 and the continuing struggle for Irish Independence… Nothing has changed. Still horrific poverty, oppression and hunger in Ireland. But the Irish are ready fight to the death for their freedom. Ken Loach created an exceptional film on the subject. It won the Cannes 2006 Palm D’Or.
Lastly, here is an early esponse from a proud British subject on the issue of Irish poverty, hunger and overpopulation. If only the Irish had listened and the liberals hadn’t objected to his plan. All he sought to do was to limit the suffering of the broods of children produced by Irish welfare mommas who seek to embarrass Her Majesty the Queen. Here’s how to solve “The Irish Queston”:
“A Modest Proposal” by Jonathan Swift, 1729
For Preventing the Children of Poor People in Ireland from Being a Burden to their Parents
or Country and for Making Them Beneficial to the Public
Smoky, film noire, haunting & tragic. New discovery. I’ve always been a huge fan of Benny Goodman, thought Artie Shaw was more commercial. But this…! Dark and moody, it hits you with sensuality, sorrow and anomie. In spite of his many upbeat hits, this was Artie Shaw’s favorite and his signature song.
Perhaps a good accompaniment to Never Come Morning, Nelson Algren’s tragic masterpiece of urban misery & loss. Nightmare could be its soundtrack…
Recently discovered the polymath genius Artie Shaw: He was a musical prodigy who took up the clarinet at 16 and immediately left home to play in various bands. He went on to become a major musical figure as a jazz clarinetist, bandleader, composer and arranger. He formed several bands, hiring Billie Holiday as his vocalist and Buddy Rich as drummer, et al. He was an innovative musician who fused bebop, classical & world music into his big band repertoire. When he wasn’t touring, recording or composing, he studied advanced mathematics, and became an expert marksman and sportsman. He was an author who wrote fiction and autobiography. His commercial success didn’t mean much to him; he walked away from opportunities to capitalize on his fame. Okay, the good-looking super-genius Artie did have a problem: relationships. He was married eight times. Who cares? His musical genius brings delight, joy and happiness into the world.
And now the purple dusk of twilight time
Steals across the meadows of my heart
High up in the sky the little stars climb
Always reminding me that we’re apart
You wander down the lane and far away
Leaving me a song that will not die
Love is now the stardust of yesterday
The music of the years gone by
Sometimes I wonder why I spend
The lonely night dreaming of a song
The melody haunts my reverie
And I am once again with you
When our love was new
And each kiss an inspiration
But that was long ago
Now my consolation
Is in the stardust of a song
Beside a garden wall
When stars are bright
You are in my arms
The nightingale tells his fairy tale
A paradise where roses bloom
Though I dream in vain
In my heart it will remain
My stardust melody
The memory of love’s refrain
Lady Gaga is the first major star of the digital age. Since her rise, she has remained almost continually on tour. Hence, she is a moving target who has escaped serious scrutiny. She is often pictured tottering down the street in some outlandish get-up and fright wig. Most of what she has said about herself has not been independently corroborated… “Music is a lie”, “Art is a lie”, “Gaga is a lie”, and “I profusely lie” have been among Gaga’s pronouncements, but her fans swallow her line whole…
The exquisite artistry of a modern genius…
What’s the spring-breathing jasmine and rose ?
What’s the summer with all its gay train
Or the splendour of autumn to those
Who’ve bartered their freedom for gain?
Let the love of our land’s sacred rights
To the love of our people succeed
Let friendship and honour unite
And flourish on both sides the Tweed.
No sweetness the senses can cheer
Which corruption and bribery bind
No brightness that gloom can e’er clear
For honour’s the sum of the mind
Let virtue distinguish the brave
Place riches in lowest degree
Think them poorest who can be a slave
Them richest who dare to be free
Trad & Dick Gaughan / Music : Dick Gaughan